The San Francisco Giants have been very active since their 2013 season ended with a 76-86 record. After winning their second world championship in three years, this past season was a disappointment.
Injuries and performances that were below the Giants' expectations doomed them to a third-place finish in the NL West. With the Los Angeles Dodgers now very willing and able to spend through the roof, it was incumbent upon Giants general manager Brian Sabean to bolster the roster.
Sabean and the Giants acted quickly to sign Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum before either player hit the free-agent market. Pence led the Giants in home runs, RBI, runs scored, stolen bases and OPS.
Pence's five-year, $90 million contract looks like a relative bargain when compared to Jacoby Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year, $153 million deal with the New York Yankees, or Shin-Soo Choo's seven-year, $130 million contract with the Texas Rangers.
Sabean and the Giants were focused on returning to their tried-and-true formula of winning with pitching. With this in mind, in addition to retaining Lincecum, the Giants also signed two mainstays of their pitching staff, veterans Javier Lopez and Ryan Vogelsong.
The biggest acquisition from outside the franchise was starting pitcher Tim Hudson, who signed a two-year, $23 million contract. Hudson started his career in the Bay Area, in Oakland, where he played from 1999-2004. He played for the Atlanta Braves for the next nine seasons.
The latest free-agent acquisition, Michael Morse, will fill a gaping hole in left field. The Giants were last in the National League in production from the left field position, and Morse will most certainly improve that.
As the hot stove fires have burned brightly for the Giants, there are still several important questions that need to be answered as the 2014 season unfolds.
Let's take a look at these key questions. How they are answered will go a long way in determining the Giants' success in the upcoming season.